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What do the stats say about Alex Bono?

A lot of TFC supporters have been vocal about the team’s goalkeeping woes - how does Alex Bono statistically compare to the rest of MLS?

Does Bono belong with the MLS keeper elite?
Sean Pollock - Waking the Red

A lot of TFC supporters have been vocal about the team’s goalkeeping woes - how does Alex Bono statistically compare to the rest of MLS?

There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics. While there is a myriad of opinions about the TFC keeper, there’s a way to look at these ideas empirically – through a statistical comparison of Bono to the rest of the league.

Bono’s Salary

Alex Bono was brought to the club in 2015 as the No. 6 overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft, which meant he wasn’t a high expense for the team, and his salary didn’t count towards the cap. He didn’t play at all in 2015, as he was behind Chris Konopka and Joe Bendik on the depth charts.

He took over for Clint Irwin for a spell in 2016 and earned the starting job in 2017. During this time, he was making the league minimum. In 2018, he signed a new contract with TFC, making $382,000 per season. His contract was for four years, which is finished at the end of the 2022 season. The contract was designed to increase Bono’s pay each subsequent year. Bono is currently making $557,000 per season in 2022, according to the MLSPA website.

How does this salary compare to the rest of the league? Bono is the sixth-highest paid keeper in the league. Only Andre Blake (PHI), Steve Clark (HOU), Bill Hamid (DC), Nick Marsman (MIA), and Eloy Room (CLB) make more than Bono. There’s a lot to be said about this list (that’s another article for another time), but it’s a pretty exclusive club in which Bono belongs.

Here’s an important caveat about keeper salaries – teams (and by extension, MLS) are hesitant to spend a lot of money on defensive players, which include goalkeepers and defenders. The prevailing opinion in the league is that money is better spent on attacking players and big-name players to attract eyeballs, especially fans, sponsors, and media. Signing a goalkeeper will not see supporters go and buy the keeper kit. In the TAM/GAM era, it becomes increasingly difficult to justify spending money on a player that will not move the economic needle for a club. There have only been two DP keepers in MLS history – Tim Howard (COL) and Frank Rost (NYRB).

Also, it can be argued that a goalkeeper may not be a significant position of concern if the team is defensively sound. It’s possible that a keeper may be deemed “good enough” if faced with only a few shots during a match. However, this scenario is not applicable to Toronto FC between 2019 and 2022. Bono’s statistics from those seasons will be looked at a bit later in the article.

Performance Statistics

While looking at Bono’s numbers, it’s important to look at the 2022 season first.

2022 Season

Statistic Alex Bono Statistic Ranking in MLS
Statistic Alex Bono Statistic Ranking in MLS
Games played 21 19th
Clean Sheets 2 26th
Save Percentage 68.10% 13th
Saves Per 90 Minutes 3.7 3rd
Goals Conceded per 90 1.7 24th
Accurate Pass Percentage 58.40% 25th
Long Ball Percentage 25.40% 30th

If you’ve watched Alex Bono play, these statistics shouldn’t be a big surprise to you. One of the strengths of Alex Bono has been his ability to stop shots. While the save/90 statistic looks promising at third best in the league, his save percentage puts him right in the middle of the keepers. One of the major criticisms of Bono’s play has been his ball distribution – which the statistics confirm this idea. For instance, Bono’s long ball percentage is the lowest in the league with keepers with more than 10 appearances.

As referenced earlier, it’s not completely on the keeper for a poor defensive effort. Toronto has been struggling with conceding goals, giving up 47 in 27 matches. Only SKC, the Quakes, and DCU are worse. DCU has a -27 goal differential right now – yikes. Apparently Wazza Rooney should bring in defenders. Also, it should be said that Bill Hamid has been injured since the end of May.

Bono’s Historical Numbers

Year Games Played Clean Sheets Save % Save/90 Goals/90 Accurate Pass % Long Ball %
Year Games Played Clean Sheets Save % Save/90 Goals/90 Accurate Pass % Long Ball %
2022 21 2 68.1 3.7 1.7 58.4 25.4
2021 24 2 65.1 3.4 1.8 55 28.5
2020 3 3 100 5.3 0 50.5 32.9
2019 7 1 59.3 2.6 1.8 60.7 32
2018 27 3 67.2 3.4 1.7 55.7 33.5
2017 29 10 69.5 2.6 1.1 49.8 N/A
2016 16 4 72.4 2.8 1.1 53.7 N/A

While there are not significant outliers or variations in Bono’s career statistics, it becomes evident that his 2017 season was a career year, as seen by his 10 clean sheets. As mentioned above, it certainly helped that Bono was surrounded by a defensively strong team. It seems that Bono couldn’t significantly improve his distribution statistics, which is a bit of a head scratcher. If you identify a weakness for a player, wouldn’t you want to spend a significant amount of time improving that skill? Keeper distribution has two elements – skill and decision-making. It seems that Bono struggles with both.


While it’s not necessarily easy to think about the value for money argument (as explained above), clearly Toronto FC is facing a money issue when looking at the goalkeeper position. With a quick look at Bono’s statistics, it’s clear that he is not an elite keeper in MLS, yet he is getting paid elite keeper money. Also, his performances have been inconsistent to say the least. Ultimately, it comes down to confidence and attitude, which has been missing from Bono’s game this season. While he has been prone to make mistakes, it seems that has been amplified this season as Bob Bradley has favoured Bono over Westberg in net for the majority of the year. The criticism is often warranted, as many of these mistakes have been the result of a lack of focus.

While it would be a little frustrating to see a loyal player like Bono leave, it is time for the club to look elsewhere for a solution to their goalkeeping woes.